The Big Day. Obama is President.


Inauguration day will go down as one of the biggest, strangest and interesting days of my career. Woke up early, walked, waited, shot, waited, froze, shot then walk again. Edit for another few hours and then sleep.
Got to see Obama walk down the parade route, only an hour behind schedule and after many hours of waiting around. The lines to get in to the secure area were terrible, you’ll see pictures of people who had waited for many many more hours than I. It was a day of patience and just a little bit of reward. As I said in the post before this, I am very excited I was able to be in DC to make these pictures. The hardships all of us on the streets faced will soon be forgotten and the positive memories will remain. Selective memory of course, but we were there.

Cakes and Pastries with Inauguration-themed messages near Howard University early on the morning of Inauguration Day. 1/20/09

Cakes and Pastries with Inauguration-themed messages near Howard University early on the morning of Inauguration Day. 1/20/09


Waiting at a security checkpoint to be admitted to the Parade Route.

Waiting at a security checkpoint to be admitted to the Parade Route.


Waiting at a security checkpoint to be admitted to the Parade Route. 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue. Guest and Secret Service agent.

Waiting at a security checkpoint to be admitted to the Parade Route. 12th and Pennsylvania Avenue. Guest and Secret Service agent.


Along the Parade Route in the morning.

Along the Parade Route in the morning.


Along the Parade Route. A young protester in a roped-off area.

Along the Parade Route. A young protester in a roped-off area.


Police and military personnel direct pedestrian traffic along a crossing of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Police and military personnel direct pedestrian traffic along a crossing of Pennsylvania Avenue.


Along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Along Pennsylvania Avenue.


Obama hoodie on Parade route.

Obama hoodie on Parade route.


A boy trapped along a fence at a security checkpoint near the Parade route.

A boy trapped along a fence at a security checkpoint near the Parade route.


Crowds push their way in to a security checkpoint after waiting hours in line.

Crowds push their way in to a security checkpoint after waiting hours in line.


A man sleeps while waiting for the parade to start near the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue.

A man sleeps while waiting for the parade to start near the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue.


Waiting for President Obama in the cold along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Waiting for President Obama in the cold along Pennsylvania Avenue.


Special Inauguration edition of the Washington Post newspaper sold outside of the Verizon Center immediately following the Inaugural events.

Special Inauguration edition of the Washington Post newspaper sold outside of the Verizon Center immediately following the Inaugural events.


Historic edition of the Washington Post for sale at a markup along a DC street.

Historic edition of the Washington Post for sale at a markup along a DC street.


Man selling Obama posters for $10 after the inauguration ceremonies, down from $20 before the event.

Man selling Obama posters for $10 after the inauguration ceremonies, down from $20 before the event.


Man selling discount tshirts for $5 near the Verizon center in downtown Washington DC.

Man selling discount tshirts for $5 near the Verizon center in downtown Washington DC.


American Flags on the DC Metro following the Inauguration of Barack Obama. January 20, 2009.

American Flags on the DC Metro following the Inauguration of Barack Obama. January 20, 2009.


I think the enduring memory of this week for me will be these vendors who were selling all manor of Obama-themed crap on the streets of DC. The vendors’ personalities and the real (American consumerist derived) enthusiasm for their wares shown by almost all of the people on the streets really spoke to an underlying nature of the spectacle and self-awareness by participants in the ‘historic nature’ of their being there. This, I guess, provided the market for $1 “I was there!” bookmarks. I guess that I finish thinking that even though we were aware what we were making history and acted like it, that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t still an honest, earnest thing.
Telling too was the day after. Here are a few pictures from Wednesday afternoon in DC … the cleanup, the happy crowds (much much happier than everywhere else before … a commenter on BagNewsNotes had it right. I think it was just too cold to smile, even though people knew the gravity of the moment around them and were truly excited about being there. Why else, really, would they have traveled a distance, gotten up so early only to wait in the deep cold for so long.) Wednesday, though, was all about the ‘new day’ weather. It was warmer, sunny. It created a different mood. Lighter, wonderful, relaxed. A sigh of relief and contentment after pomp and ceremony. Even the Police were smiling. Again, maybe this was just my reaction bleeding into the pictures (it happens for all photographers, journalists, storytellers) but that is the very point.
The day after the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Washington DC, January 21, 2009. The White House.

The day after the Inauguration of President Barack Obama. Washington DC, January 21, 2009. The White House.


Police and Secret Service agents monitoring pedestrians in front of the White House. 1/21/09.

Police and Secret Service agents monitoring pedestrians in front of the White House. 1/21/09.


Final cleanup on the National Mall. January 21, 2009.

Final cleanup on the National Mall. January 21, 2009.


Thanks for looking everyone. Be sure to check out our partner BagNewsNotes for great analysis of these pictures and many more. Particularly, you must see my colleague Alan Chin’s work from DC called, appropriately, the First Draft of History. It gets to the heart of what his aims were in covering this. Well done Alan and Michael, thanks very much for the opportunity to work alongside you.


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